The scariest thing about Halloween Time at Disneyland isn’t spooky ride overlays or shows, it’s the crowds!
The Halloween season at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure has become one of the busiest times of the year. In fact, some days in October are even more crowded than the holiday season. Still, that doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck if you’re looking for light crowds and short lines during Halloween Time. If you go at the right time, a manageable experience at Disneyland is still possible this time of the year.
When is it Least Crowded?
So, when exactly is Halloween Time least crowded?
The best general advice is to go early in the season (except for opening weekend). Starting in 2018, Halloween Time at Disneyland starts on the Friday right after Labor Day. That’s a week earlier than past years, and gives guests a full week of historically low-attendance weekdays to visit the parks with all the Halloween decorations and attractions up and running. Here are the best and worst days to visit:
Best Days in September
- First week of Halloween Time (Tuesday – Thursday)
- Weekdays after first week (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are best)
The earlier in the Halloween season you go the less crowded it tends to be, so the first week tends to be most manageable. After that, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are least crowded in September. Check the Disneyland Crowd Calendar for the best dates.
Average September Crowds
We don’t recommend visiting on opening weekend, which attracts a large number of annual passholders. Weekends should also be avoided, however, if you must go on a Saturday or Sunday during Halloween Time, it’s better to go in September than October.
Best Days in October
- First week of October (Tuesday and Wednesday is best)
- Weekdays on third week of October (Tuesdays and Wednesdays)
- Weekdays on last week of October
October is when the Halloween season crowds really start to pick up on weekends. Saturdays in October are some of the busiest days of the year! We highly recommend avoiding weekends this month, as well as the second week of October (many schools are out for fall break then). Weekdays on the last week of the month, including Halloween (October 31) if it falls mid-week, tend to be most manageable as the Halloween season winds down.
Average October Crowds
Beware: More Crowds at Night!
Every year during Halloween Time, one of the parks hosts a special Halloween Party event that requires separate admission. For 2019, the event takes place at Disney California Adventure on select Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights. That means that DCA will close early (at 6:00pm) for the event on those days, while Disneyland remains open later for the general public. So, while Disneyland may be manageable during the day, be prepared for crowds to pick up (sometimes substantially) in the evening.
Oogie Boogie Bash: Best Days
UPDATE: For the 2019 season, Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party at Disney California Adventure replaces Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland.
So, what about the Halloween Party? The separate-ticket event takes place this year at Disney California Adventure on select nights starting in mid-September. In general, the earlier in the season you go, the less crowded it will be. Crowds are traditionally smaller for the event, so if you’re looking for shorter lines at Disneyland, we think the Halloween Party is worth checking out. Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Buy your tickets early!
Tickets for the Halloween Party are limited and they sell out every year, so book early. They usually go on sale in June.
2. September nights are less crowded
The least crowded event nights of the season are historically in September. Try to aim for weeknights.
3. Sunday nights are more crowded
Attendance tends to be highest on Sundays, especially by October. Again, try to book a weeknight instead of a Sunday for the most manageable experience.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Disney California Adventure closes early for the Halloween Party, so on days when the event takes place, attendance during the day tends to be lower since the shorter park hours discourages many people from visiting on that day. Once DCA closes early, there is also usually a mass exodus of guests who hop parks, so be prepared for Disneyland to be a lot more crowded in the evening.
Halloween Time Wait Times
For the shortest wait times of the Halloween Time season, go on a weekday in September. Around 30min waits is the norm, but you can expect the seasonal attractions (Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy) to be higher. Lines on weekends in September tend to be around 60min on average.
Wait times pick up substantially by October. It’s not uncommon for lines to stretch to 1-2 hours on weekends. Around 60min waits is the norm during the second week of October. You can expect 30-40min lines on most weekdays afterwards, and lower waits on the last week of October.
Have you been to Disneyland for Halloween Time? What was your experience like? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!